Deanna Reder discusses Indigenous publishing at the Greg Younging Conversation

May 03, 2022

Thursday May 5, 2022, marks the return of Publishing @ SFU's popular annual event, which uses a TED-talk inspired format to lift Indigenous voices as a tribute to the celebrated editor, author, and scholar, who passed away in 2019. 

Register at Eventbrite.

Now in its second year, the Greg Younging Conversation will again feature Cree-Métis scholar Deanna Reder, Chair of the Department of Indigenous Studies at Simon Fraser University. Reder is joined by Warren Cariou, a Métis writer, editor, and professor at the University of Manitoba.

A strong advocate for handing down and preserving Indigenous culture, Younging was a noted expert in Indigenous intellectual property. He was well-known as the publisher of Theytus Books, Canada’s oldest Indigenous-owned publishing house. His seminal book, Elements of Indigenous Style: A Guidebook for Writing By and About Indigenous Peoples, has helped shape practices to improve the representation and inclusion of Indigenous voices and perspectives in the publishing industry.

The re-publishing and revisiting of underappreciated Indigenous works in Canada will be a theme of the conversation between Reder and Cariou on May 5. “I am thrilled and honoured to interview Warren,” says Reder. “First Voices, First Texts, his series of re-published critical editions at the University of Manitoba Press, has been phenomenal. Warren has brought together a community and revived interest in important Indigenous works that have been lost or sometimes purposefully suppressed.”

The event, which is sponsored by the Publishing Program at SFU, honours Younging’s remarkable legacy by creating a venue for dialogue to support the Indigenous publishing industry in Canada. Both Reder and Cariou will share their insights as colleagues and collaborators of Greg Younging. “Greg was connected with many high-profile Indigenous creatives when I first met him in 2001,” says Reder. “He had a huge impact at a time when there weren’t many opportunities for Indigenous writers.” As testament to his positive influence on the community, when Younging passed away on May 3, 2019, after a short illness, it inspired his friends and colleagues to come together to ensure his work would continue through initiatives such as The Greg Younging Conversation and scholarships in his name.

Greg Younging with friends and colleagues at the 2015 Aboriginal Editors Circle in Saskatchewan: Greg Younging is pictured in the back row, far left; Warren Cariou is at the far right. Deanna Reder is seated at the centre of the front row. Beside her are SFU English BA alumnus Blake Bilmer (left) and SFU English PhD alumnus Jordan Abel (right).

Younging’s work continues to inspire Reder as a scholar of Indigenous literature and an educator of aspiring writers and editors. In her course, Elements of Indigenous Style: Indigenous Editing Practices –which offered by Indigenous Studies as INDG 410 and the Publishing Program as PUB 480 – Reder asks students to engage with and build upon ideas expressed by Younging in his seminal book of the same name. Reder explains that her goal for the course is to “create pathways for a new generation of Indigenous editors in direct response to ideas Greg was working on before he passed away.”

The second annual Greg Younging Conversation takes place on Thursday, May 5, 2022, at 3pm over Zoom. The online event is free and open to the public, but registration is required at Eventbrite.

The Greg Younging Conversation is sponsored by the Canadian Centre for Studies in Publishing and the SFU School of Publishing.